Archive for the ‘Educational Posts’ Category

What is your preferred learning style? How do you think your style is advantageous or disadvantageous?

My preferred learning style is visual and kinesthetic. The advantage of this learning style is that I will be sure to incorporate pictures, charts, video clips and other media to enhance my lessons and not just lecture on and on and on…. and you know what I mean!

Do you think identifying learning styles is a useful pursuit for a teacher, particularly in the special education arena? Why? Why not?

I believe it is beneficial to identify the learning styles of your students, particularly in special education. Being a special education teacher means paying close attention to the needs of your students. On a daily basis, we are assessing them to find the best possible way to accommodate them. Knowing what methods are most effective for your students’ comprehension can help you develop highly differentiated instruction.

Describe how a teacher can differentiate among accommodations and modifications for curriculum and for behavior.

A teacher can differentiate accommodations and modifications for curriculum in a variety of ways. Some of the ways teachers can make modifications and accommodations for curriculum include reducing the number of assignment questions, allowing students to respond verbally, using visual aids, teaching one concept at time, reading text to students, and allowing breaks during instruction and testing.  These accommodations and modifications can also help to reduce behavior problems by curbing student frustration that might result from difficulty with accessing the curriculum.

What are two validated practices that are effective with students with learning disabilities and how do they work?

Two validated practices that have proven effective with students with learning disabilities are:

1. Peer tutoring – Students always want to show off what they know and have learned. This method involves students coaching each other to improve academic learning in subjects such as mathematics and reading.  They can take turns in the driver seat.

2.  Explicit Instruction of Learning Strategies: helps students take responsibility for their own learning.  Examples of learning strategies include: graphic organizers, mnemonic devices, step-by-step procedures and progress monitoring.  We want to teach students to think about what they are they are thinking; metacognition.  This method is a tool that they can use for life.

What are various accommodations and classroom interventions used for students with ADHD?

Some accommodations for ADHD are breaking tasks up into steps, providing examples, defining the requirements and expectations, giving one direction at a time, reducing assignment length, use of positive reinforcements, informing students of deviations from the routine as far in advance as possible and using physical proximity and touch.

What does history tell us about the evolution of secondary education in America?

Secondary school reform represents a vitally important topic. The major goal is helping all students reach high academic standards. This has yielded a number of innovative programs that attempt to balance students personal and academic needs. The foundational skills of reading, writing and math are garnering more attention at the secondary level in all content area classes.

Along with high standards, public schools must meet the needs of all students and provide an appropriate education for students with many diverse needs. Inclusion of students with disabilities requires schools to rethink the way classes are tracked and how services are provided to students who have difficulty in the school environment. Coteaching arrangements, which allow subject area specialists to work with trained special educators in the same classroom, constitute one approach to meeting diverse needs.

There is always going to be a change that is coming in education because it is a constant evolution. What we learned 100, 75, and 50 years ago will be different then what we learn 10 years from now. That is why it is so important to stay on top of education movements and current information.

Measurable Annual Goals, Benchmarks, and Examples

Measurable annual goals are descriptions of what a child can reasonably be expected to accomplish within a 12 month period with the provision of special education and related services.

When selecting areas of need to address through annual goals, the IEP team’s focus should be on selecting goals from the standards and benchmarks of the local district.

Measurable annual goals must be related to meeting the child’s needs that result from the child’s special needs, to enable the child to be involved and progress in the general curriculum. In addition, they must meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s special needs. Annual goals are not required for areas of general curriculum in which the child’s special needs does not affect the ability to be involved and progress in the general curriculum. The annual goals included in each student’s IEP should be individually selected to meet the unique needs of the individual child. The goals should not be determined based on the category of the child’s special needs or on commonly exhibited traits of children in a category of special needs.

Four critical components of a well written goal are:

Time Frame – is usually specified in the number of weeks or certain date for completion.

Ex: In 36 instructional weeks. . . By November 19, 2010. . . By the end of the 1999-2000 school year. . .

Conditions – specify the manner in which progress toward the goal is measured. Conditions are dependent on the behavior being measured and involve the application of skills or knowledge.

Ex: when presented with 2nd grade level text. . . given a mixed 4th grade level math calculation probe. . . given a story prompt and 30 minutes to write. . . clearly identifies the performance that is being monitored,

Verb – usually reflects an action or can be directly observed, and is measurable.

Ex: Sarah will read. . . Claude will correctly solve. . . Mary will score. . .

Criterion – identifies how much, how often, or to what standards the behavior must occur in order to demonstrate that the goal has been reached. The goal criterion specifies the amount of growth the child is expected to make by the end of the annual goal period.

Ex: 96 words per minute with 5 or fewer errors… 85% or more correct for all problems presented…. 4 or better when graded according to the 6-trait writing rubric.

Well written measurable annual goals will pass the “Stranger Test”. This test involves evaluation of the goal to determine if it is written so that a teacher who does not know the student could use it to develop appropriate instructional plans and assess the student’s progress.

Each IEP must have at least one measurable annual goal. Each measurable goal must have benchmarks. The purpose is to enable a child’s teacher(s), parents, and others involved in developing and implementing the child’s IEP to gauge, at intermediate times during the year, how well the child is progressing toward achievement of the annual goal.

Benchmarks

Benchmarks are major milestones that describe content to be learned or skills to be performed in sequential order. (Nov, Feb, May) They establish expected performance levels that coincide with progress reporting periods for the purpose of gauging whether a child’s progress is sufficient to achieve the annual goal.

In the context of IDEA and IEPs, measurable annual goals are the desired outcome. Benchmarks are listed in hierarchical order to gauge progress toward achievement of the annual goals.

Within the local curriculum, the IEP team should identify the skills and performance levels the child will master as he/she progresses toward the annual goal and select those for possible benchmarks in the IEP.

Example: Present Level of Educational Performance, Goal, and Benchmarks

PLEP: Jake’s written language is similar to that of typical children entering 1st grade in that it lacks punctuation, capitalization, and is characterized by sentence fragments and weak organizational skills. This impacts his ability to communicate through written language in his 3rd grade general education classroom and is affecting his performance in English and Social Studies.

Goal: In 36 instructional weeks, Jake will write a 5-sentance paragraph consisting of a topic sentence, 3 supporting detail sentences, and a concluding sentence, maintaining a single topic, with 85% mechanical accuracy on ending punctuation, commas, quotation marks, and capitalization.

Benchmark 1: In 9 instructional weeks, upon request, Jake will write a single complete sentence, beginning with a capital letter and ending with correct punctuation.

Benchmark 2: In 18 instructional weeks, upon request, Jake will write 3 complete sentences maintaining a single topic, beginning each with a capital letter, ending with correct punctuation, and using comma where appropriate.

Benchmark 3: In 27 instructional weeks, upon request, Jake will write a 4-sentence paragraph including a topic sentence and 3 supporting detail sentences, beginning each with a capital letter, ending with correct punctuation, using commas and quotation marks where appropriate.

More Examples of Annual Goals:

Illinois Learning Standard: 9.B. Identify, describe, classify and compare relationships using points, lines, planes and solids.

Goal: Student will be able to solve algebraix and trigonometric problems with 75% accuracy utilizing visual and graphic depiction strategies to aid understanding.

B1: Student will be able to simplify algebraic equations involving more than one variable and exponents with 75% accuracy.

B2: Student will be able to create a correct graphic illustration of the steps to find slope of a given line using a scientific/graphing calculator with 75% accuracy.

B3: Student will be able to properly use a graphing calculator to graph functions with 75% accuracy.

Illinois Learning Standard: 1.C. Comprehend a broad range of reading materials.

Goal: Using the strategy of “Think-Pair-Share” or other peer discussion-based strategies, Student will be able to summarize and make generalizations from classroom reading material in order to establish the author’s purpose(s) with 80% accuracy.

B1: Student will be able to identify (highlight, underline) the main point(s) of a given classroom reading assignment with 80% accuracy.

B2: Student will be able to work cooperatively with a given peer (selected by instructor) to produce a written summary of the main points and major topics within a given classroom reading assignment in 4 out of 5 trials.

B3: Student will be able to work cooperatively with a peer to orally present a detailed summary of the main points and/or purpose of a given classroom reading assignment with 80% accuracy on a presentation rubric.

Illinois Learning Standard: 11.A. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scientific inquiry.

Goal: Student will be able to use appropriate scientific design theory strategies, like graphic organizers, Punnett Squares, inquiry-oriented learning, and cooperative learning to understand the fundamental concepts, principles, and interconnections of the life, physical and earth/space sciences with at least 70% accuracy.

B1: Student will be able to use appropriate scientific design theory strategies, like graphic organizers and/or Punnett Squares to explain how living things function, adapt and change through the analysis of how genetic combinations produce visible effects, variations among physical features, and cellular functions of organisms with at least 70% accuracy.

B2: Student will be able to use appropriate scientific design theory strategies, like inquiry-oriented learning to describe how living things interact with each other and with their environment by analyzing factors that influence the size and stability of populations within ecosystems, like birth rate, death rate, predation, and migration patterns with at least 70% accuracy.

B3: Student will be able to use appropriate scientific design theory strategies, like cooperative learning, to apply concepts that describe the features and processes of the Earth and its resources by explaining how external and internal energy sources drive Earth processes, like weather patterns and plate tectonics with at least 70% accuracy.

Measuring and Reporting Progress on Annual Goals: Once the IEP Team has developed measurable annual goals for a child, the team must develop either major milestones (benchmarks) that will enable parents, children, and educators to monitor progress during the year, and, if appropriate, to revise the IEP consistent with the child’s instructional needs. The strong emphasis is to enable each child to be involved and progress in the general curriculum.

Frequent monitoring of student progress is encouraged. Frequent monitoring is beneficial in several ways:

  • It gives the teacher time to implement interventions and new strategies if student progress in inadequate toward reaching the benchmark or short-term objective,
  • It maximizes the child’s time and opportunity to learn and ensures effective instructional practices,
  • It prevents unpleasant surprises for parents when progress reports go home or at parent-teacher conferences, and
  • It documents “good faith” on the part of the teacher implementing the IEP.

If data collection over time indicates inadequate student progress despite the implementation of interventions and strategies, the IEP Team may need to meet and reevaluate the appropriateness of one or more annual goals. The IEP must be revised as appropriate to address any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals or progress in the general curriculum.

When appropriate, a portion of the IEP may be revised. As with any change made on an IEP, there must be an IEP Team Meeting. The Notice for the IEP Team meeting would indicate what part of the IEP the team is reviewing. Upon completion of the review, the parents will receive a Prior Written Notice of Proposed Action. Parent consent for the revision may or may not be required depending on whether the change constitutes a substantial change in placement or material change in services.

Usually the curriculum will be the same for all children. This means that the student who is challenged will participate in the social studies lesson, the science experiments and the music class, along with the other children. The student’s life experiences will be enriched, and their ability to communicate and form relationships with their peers increased through being included.

Individuals cannot hope to converse with someone about hockey, on any level, if they have never been to a game. Similarly, a student can have no understanding of the universe if he has not been exposed to the concept that the world is round, nor understand the idea of magnification if there is no chance of looking through a magnifying glass or a microscope.

DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION

Differentiated instruction is an approach to planning so that one lesson is taught to the entire class while meeting the individual needs of each child.  The teacher weaves the individual goals into the classroom content and instructional strategies. The content and the instructional strategies are the vehicles by which the teacher meets the needs of all the students.

Each lesson:

  • has a definite aim for all students
  • includes a variety of teacher techniques aimed at reaching students at all levels
  • considers student learning styles in presentation of lesson
  • involves all students in the lesson through the use of questioning aimed at different levels of thinking (Bloom’s Taxonomy)
  • allows for students’ adjusted expectations
  • provides choice in the method students will use to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts
  • accepts that different methods are of equal value
  • evaluates students based on their individual differences

 RATIONALE:

  • Encourages inclusion of all students
  • Addresses different learning styles
  • Allows teacher to reach all of the students some of the time
  • Allows for diversity among students
  • Fosters social relations and self-worth
  • Meets social, emotional and academic needs

STEPS:

1. Identify:

  • - underlying concepts – What is it that all students are to understand. Need to clarify difference between the concepts and the content used to develop the concepts.

2. Method of presentation:

  • - concept presented in such a way that all students are able to gain varying degrees of knowledge based on their level of understanding
  • - learning styles of student – auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile
  • - level of cognitive domain – Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • - differentiated participation – based on student’s skill level

3. Method of student practice:

  • - allowance for assignments based on student’s needs
  • - learning styles of student – auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile
  • - level of cognitive ability – Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • - differentiated participation – based on student’s skill level

4. Method of evaluation:

  • - linked to method of performance
  • - learning styles of student – auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile
  • - level of cognitive ability – Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • - differentiated participation – based on student’s skill level

5. Method of presentation: Adaptations may be necessary to the environment, the materials and the mode of presenting the information.

Environment

Position in room:

  • consider student’s senses – vision, hearing, touch, smell, physical ability
  • sit at front of room, back of room, away from noise, beside teacher,
  • change lighting (light on desk, back to window …)
  • Cooperative grouping

 General Organization: for easy access to organized materials:

  • drawers beside desk
  • soup can for pencils
  • bookends
  • tie pencil to desk
  • attach pencil to student with extension key ring
  • have list of items to complete on desk
  • have timetable on desk
  • reduce excess materials on desk
  • color code notebooks/
  • have student come in early to go over day’s plan
  • headphones to quiet outbursts
  • sit on mat/chair during group floor activities

Materials 

Student materials:

  • low vocabulary books, audio cassettes, video cassettes, computer, calculator, manipulatives, overhead sheets over text book to allow writing, pictures, notebooks, photocopy of notes, number or alphabet lines on desk or on notebooks

Adapting page set-up:

  • line indicators
  • different types of paper – graph, mid lines, raised lines, red and green lines
  • provide more space for answers
  • highlight directions
  • cover sections of test/sheets, or cut sheets and give student only one
  • section at a time
  • greater contrast ink
  • post-it notes

Adapted devices:

  • scissors
  • chalk holders
  • pencil grippers
  • highlighter
  • bingo markers
  • stamps and stamp pads
  • recipe stand to hold books
  • erasable pens
  • corner pouches to hold papers down
  • vegetable bins to hold materials at desk

PRESENTATION:

Teacher presentation:

  • use hand signals/sign,
  • use variety of levels of materials for whole group,
  • repeat instructions,
  • stand close to student,
  • speak clearly,
  • facing students,
  • modify tone of voice,
  • modify pace

 Instructions: 

  • write instructions: on board, on post-it notes for student,
  • ask student to repeat instructions,
  • have a peer repeat instructions demonstrate/model,
  • act out instructions,
  • complete first example with student,
  • always put instructions in the same place,
  • simplify instructions,
  • tape record instructions,
  • use pictures, use concrete materials, video for later review,
  • use different colored chalk/pens,
  • break information into steps,
  • give structured overview,
  • have students fill in blanks, jot notes, etc., while listening,
  • provide additional time to preview materials, complete tasks, take tests,
  • photocopy information,
  • highlight key points in text,
  • use contrasting colors of ink,
  • involve students in presentation

Others:

  • bulletin boards, banners, posters, television, slides, filmstrips, flashcards, transparencies, drama, graffiti, comics, objects, community events, radio, tapes, records, television, lectures, debates, discussions, field trips, drama, readings, interviews, letters, concerts, taste, smell, touch: texture, temp, movement, adapt level of questioning – Bloom’s Taxonomy

Students involved in presentation:

  • concept mapping
  • cooperative learning – heterogeneous groups
  • brainstorming
  • webbing
  • peer teaching, reciprocal peer teaching, problem solving, coaching, cross-age and same-age tutors
  • mentorship

Method of student practice:

  • Where possible provided guided choices for mode of practice
  • Use Bloom’s taxonomy for planning activities
  • Determine the ability of the child to participate – in the activities

Differentiated Participation:

Differentiated participation may be necessary.  Differentiated participation may require adapting how the student participates, adapting how much the student participates, providing adapted equipment or materials or adapting the rules or goals for that student. Each student is to participate according to his or her level of skill.

Methods of student practice:

  • Verbalize, Write, Create, Perform, Solve, oral report, panel discussion, debate, open discussion, games, brainstorm, oral questions & answers, telephone, interviews, commentary, theme, research, paper, report, workbook, chalkboard, poems, essays, stories, diary, books, plays, cookbook, diorama, collage, scroll, painting, model, graph, pictograph, mural, maps, models, food, timelines, clothing, bulletin board, banner, movie/video, presentation, portraits, games, inventions, simulation, role play, drama, concert, model, music, dance, pantomime, puppet, shows, radio, commercials, puzzles, mazes, problems, equations, riddles, games, brainteasers, scavenger hunt, charades

Bloom’s Taxonomy

  • Knowledge – Requires memory only in order to repeat information
  • Comprehension – Requires rephrasing or explaining information
  • Application – Requires the application of knowledge to determine answer
  • Analysis – Requires identifying motives or causes, drawing conclusions, or determining evidence
  • Synthesis – Requires making predictions, producing original communications or problem solving with more than one possible solution
  • Evaluation – Requires making judgments or offering supported opinions

Method of Evaluation:

  • determine a variety of ways students can demonstrate their mastery of the objectives and their level of understanding of the concepts
  • use Bloom’s Taxonomy to assess level of understanding
  • criteria for evaluation will be determined by child’s needs and abilities

Evaluation:

  • self evaluation, KWL – know/want to know/learned , show knowledge in different ways (see methods of practice), peer evaluation, work samples, video, spot checks, portfolio, tests, dictate, oral, use calculator, draw pictures, take home, extended or no time line, open book, provide more space, delete some options, consider the environment – may have to take test in another room, enlarge print, tape test directions/questions, teach test taking strategies and vocabulary, present parts of the test separately

Reporting:

  • give effort/grade comments
  • attach anecdotal comments
  • same format as other students
  • mark based on criteria/goals, not class
  • curriculum based assessment
  • focus on growth

Modifying Curriculum and Instruction

Purpose of Modification: The purpose of modification is to enable an individual to compensate for intellectual, behavioral, or physical disabities. Modifications allow an individual to use existing skills while promoting the development, acquisition, or improvement of new skills.

Purpose of Accommodation: Accommodations are modifications to the delivery of instruction or to the method of student performance. In general, accommodation does not change the conceptual difficulty or content of the curriculum.

Example: Listening to a novel rather than reading it.

Concept of Partial Participation: Partial participation is a modification of the curriculum so that an individual has some active level of involvement in the instruction and instructional activities. This concept is particularly applicable to students with more severe disabilities who may never learn the same skill at the same level as students without disabilities.

Adaptations: A modification that changes the delivery of instruction or the conceptual difficulty and content of the curriculum.

Example: Providing picture cards for key words in a story.

Parallel Instruction: A modification to the delivery of instruction or method of student performance that does not change the content but changes the conceptual difficulty of the curriculum.

Example: Most students are completing addition problems and this student is completing a worksheet with problem that have counting circles.

Overlapping Instruction: Modifications to the student’s performance expectations while all the students take place in shared delivery of instruction. It is assumed that there is a difference in the content but and the conceptual difficulty of the curriculum.

Example: A student is responsible for recognizing pictures of Newton and Einstein from a video on physicist while most students will be expected to write short biographies.

FLOW

Good modifications should:

Fits into the classroom environment

Lends itself to meeting individual student needs

Optimizes understanding for each student

Work well with instruction activities

 

Types of Modifications: Dimensions of Instruction that may be varied

  • Use of materials and devices
  • Adapting skill sequences
  • Using Personal Assistance
  • Adapting Rules
  • Adapting the Environment

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONAL MODIFICATIONS FOR STUDENTS

 
Below grade level
 
-Obtain high interest materials such as novels written a lower level
-Use visuals and auditory manipulatives such as pictures and tapes
-Have students respond by means of drawings
-Use materials on the level of the child or simplify the assignment
Poor comprehension of complex sentences
-Use sentence writing strategies
-Make sure the student is looking at you as you speak
-Use clear, concise directions when delivering directions, explanations and instructions
-Stop at key points when delivering in order to determine student comprehension
 
Makes steady progress with individualized instruction, but at a slower rate
-Have peer tutors
-Provide additional practice opportunities
-Provide individualized activities that give the student more practice time such as computer lessons, peer tutor, adult tutor, games, homework assignments
 
Is highly distractible
-Sit them in front and beside good role models
-If appropriate use study carrel
-Reduce distracting stimuli
-Assign a peer to help the student with class assignments when directions are missed
-Interact frequently with the student in order to maintain involvement with class assignments
-Shorten assignments
-Use high interest materials/assignments to motivate the child to stay focused
-Allow the student additional time to complete work
 
Does not attend to tasks or complete tasks
-Shorten amount of work to be done
-Contract student, reward for work completed
-Assign a peer to help the student either do the assignment or remember to do it
-Have student keep a chart of assignments and check them off when completed
-Have student use a timer 
 
Poor comprehension of spoken language
-Written instructions
-Role play
-Pictures (iconic directions)
-The student may be allowed to tape record class lectures, presentations, or directions with prior approval from the teacher.  Directions may be given several times and may need to be explained in more detail.  The teacher may provide copies of notes and/or overheads.  The teacher may also want to provide written copies of partial outlines of material and/or instructions to be given orally
 
Dislikes and resists rigors of academic work
-Divide tasks into smaller portions
-Cooperative learning (peer assistance)
-Allow verbal responses
-Provide high interest materials, assignments
-Shorten academic tasks to include just the most essential
-Divide the assignment into parts and have a small reward or incentive after the completion of each part
-Tell students the purpose of the lesson and what will be expected of him/her in class
-Provide instructions in short units
-Provide instruction on how to keep an organizer
-Use rubrics that will allow the student to monitor his/her progress on assignments and/or units
-Be aware of possible frustrating situations
-Reinforce appropriate participation in class
-Make learning fun by being enthusiastic
-Alternate learning activities
-Post outstanding work in the classroom
-Place students in pairs sometimes
 
Performs better with high interest topics
-Tailor applications to student interest
-Allow students to choose between several topics
-Try to incorporate high interest topics with other material– interdisciplinary approaches when possible
-Try to make learning fun by emphasizing importance of having a knowledge of a variety of things
-Pair the student with a partner with whom he/she can share knowledge of their interests
-Provide assignments that can encourage student to “go beyond” the basics–such as a project on the computer
 
Has evidence of skill gaps or concept knowledge
-Remediate missing skills
-Continually build upon prior instruction
-Present a few facts at a time, gradually increase the number of facts the student must remember
-Have student use a calculator for math
-Provide practice with computer programs that provide instant feedback
 
Displays weak social skills
-Role play
-Designed practice (cooperatively with other teacher)
-Have student be a leader of a small group activity
-Give the student the responsibility of being a peer tutor
-Role play various situations
 
Exhibits behaviors that interfere with learning
-Self-monitor behavior
-Write a contract with the student and his/her parents targeting 3 initial behaviors to improve upon
-Allow student to voice an opinion to avoid becoming angry or upset
-Give student positive feedback and preferred responsibilities 
 
Has trouble discriminating certain sounds
-Give written instructions
-Icons
 
Has poor generalization skills
-Have student play analogy games with multiple-choice answers
-Provide student with situations in which he/she can generalize skills in math to: use of money, financing a car, computing interest earned from savings
-Make certain that the student knows why he/she is learning a particular information skill
-Provide real world learning experiences
-Incorporate direct instruction of generalization into teaching model
-Give students a chance to discuss, plan for, and practice applying newly learned skills in novel situations and give feedback on their performance (i.e., role playing, field trips, simulations, etc.)
-The teacher will prompt the student when he/she can use a particular skill or strategy which is appropriate.  The student will be allowed help from a peer with generalization skills and the appropriate time to use them.  The student will be provided with strategies instruction from the support teacher and prompting from the mainstream teacher.
 
Displays little motivation to learn
-Take a reinforcer survey with the student to determine likes and dislikes
-Make an agreement with parents for rewards at home
-Have a wide variety of reinforcers
 
Exhibits better receptive language than expressive language
-Make sure student’s hearing has been checked
-Use a tape recorder so student can listen and evaluate his/her own speech
-Delay your response during a conversation by one or two seconds
 
Reads and writes above grade level
-Use as a peer tutor
-Allow student to do independent work which is above grade level
-Strong supplemental reading component – immersing children in quality reading material
-Intensive and applied themed investigations – multimedia investigations of the thematic unit
-Creative expressions of student achievement – students choose from a variety of options to display their knowledge
-Provide enrichment
-Implement the accelerated reading program
-Provide a book list with a wide range of reading ability represented from which students may select a book on which to do a report
-Allow opportunities for students to write for experimentation and exploration (i.e. reading journals, learning logs, creative writing, etc.)
 
Performs at a high level on some tasks and low level on other tasks
-Determine student’s preferred activities and interests and incorporate them into daily schedule
-Use reinforcements for low level tasks
-Reinforce other students who are participating in the low level task
 
Cognitive ability scores indicate ability to achieve at higher levels
-Teach study and note-taking skills
-Reinforcement for any and all measures of improvement
-Allow students to make corrections after assignments have been checked
 
Has trouble communicating in writing
-Allow student to make oral book reports, etc.
-Have student read his/her work aloud or on tape and listen back
-Make up games using complete sentences, grammar errors, etc.
 
Has difficulty conversing and may appear withdrawn
-Give student responsibility for another student
-Ask student questions that cannot be answered with “yes” and “no”
-Do not force student to interact
-Consult resource teacher for signs of depression or drug abuse
-Reinforce the students for interacting with peers
-Provide the student with many social and academic successes
-Give the student the responsibility of tutoring a peer
-Have the student run errands with a peer
-Involve the student in nonacademic activities that will enable the student to interact appropriately i.e. games, etc.
-Provide peer advocacy/support
-Structure activities to create opportunities for social interaction
-Focus on social process rather than activity/end product
-Utilize cooperative learning groups
 
Learns fast but has skill gaps
-Have student take notes or tape record
-Call on student when he/she is most likely to be successful
-Identify students learning mode
-Make certain that student applies and uses newly acquired information
 
Gives up easily
-Evaluate the task.  Is it too hard or easy?
-Break the learning down into smaller steps that can be more easily learned or finished to provide a sense of success
-Reinforce with tangible rewards for work completed
 
Expresses thoughts better in writing than in oral communication
-Have students tape record his/her writing and listen to it back 
-Have student read his/her writing to another student
-During oral reading, underline words which are difficult and have student practice them
 
Has trouble discriminating certain sounds
-Have hearing checked
-Have student rephrase what was said to him/her
-Stand directly in front of student when delivering information
 
Masters reading and writing skills slowly
-Use peer tutoring or reading “buddies”
-Make sure material is on his/her grade level
-Have student dictate stories which are then written for him/her
-Free reading time, buddy reading
-Peer tutoring with decoding skills
-The student will be allowed extended time on tasks involving reading and writing skills.  If appropriate, the student can work in a small group instruction or one on one instruction to help improve both the reading and writing skills.
 
Uses sentences with complex syntax 
-Have student tape record a story and then write it using high vocabulary
 
Develops skills at a slower pace than similar aged peers
-Provide the student with additional practice activities on the computer, with a peer, tutor, instructional game or homework
-Provide additional time to complete skill related assessments
-Use peer tutors to provide additional practice opportunities
-Provide some activities where students can work at their own pace
-Provide a written checklist for the student to follow
 
A limited or restricted vocabulary
-Teach the student to use context clues and known vocabulary to determine the meaning of unknown vocabulary.  Explain to the student how to use the context clues to determine the meanings of words he/she hears or sees (e.g., listening to or looking at the surrounding words and determining what type of word would be appropriate)
-Prepare a list of new words which the student will encounter while reading a given assignment.  Help the student (or have a peer help the student) look up each word and practice saying it and using it in a sentence before reading the given assignment.
 
Incorrect grammar
-During the day, write down specific grammatical errors produced by the student.  Read the sentences to the student and have him/her make appropriate corrections orally.
 
Frequently mispronounces words or substitutes and rearranges words
-Provide the student with a list of the targeted words.  Have the student practice the words daily.  As the student masters the word list, add more words.  (Using words from the student’s everyday vocabulary, reading lists, spelling lists, etc., will facilitate transfer of correct production of the target sounds into everyday speech)
-Set a prearranged cue to help the student know when he is doing these
-Ask student to repeat after you or a peer
-Ask student to answer short answer questions
-Allow students to organize thoughts and comments before discussion
-Recommend screening for LSH services
-Do not push the student to speak aloud in class if self-conscious
 
Take longer to perform academic tasks
-Shorten the assignment to include just the most essential
-Break the task down into several segments and give the different segments at different times during the day
 
Has a diagnosed medical condition indicating atypical learning style or pattern
-Modify the assignment to fit the individual’s learning style
-It is difficult to present modifications without knowing specifically what the diagnosed medical condition is.  I would assume that the teacher would address an atypical learning style by teaching to the modalities, i.e. visual, kinesthetic, auditory, etc. that are not affected.
-Emphasize student’s learning style in instruction (visual, tactile, auditory, and multi-modality)
-Utilize specialized curriculum
 
Requires more repetition than peers
-Provide repetition in a variety of ways, such as computer, peer tutor, games, taped exercises
-Have the student repeat directions
-Present directions in more than one mode (auditory, visual)
-Give student job of reading directions to class
-Have students paraphrase immediately
-Teach rehearsal strategies directly
-Provide a written checklist
 
Performs drill and practice tasks poorly
-Provide assignments that use the drill and practice skills in context
 
Performs better with high interest topics
-Adapt assignment objectives to relate to a high interest topic that interests the child
 
Performs inconsistently
-Try to trouble-shoot the cause of the inconsistency and make changes based on the information gained
-Interview the child when he/she is inconsistent and look for contributing factors
-Ask the child what helps them learn best and modify
-Cognitive behavioral interventions or self monitoring – the ability to repeatedly evaluate one’s own behaviors in order to effect positive change in on-task behaviors
- During the first phase the student is observed during a period of time to get baseline data on the targeted behavior. 
- During the second phase the student, at set intervals, asks himself if he is doing the teacher expected task.  He records on a chart whether or not he is on task. 
- The next phase combines the later phase and teacher praise for on-task behavior. 
- The next phase, recording is withdrawn and teacher praise continued. 
- Finally, the teacher does another observation of the desired behavior.
 
Requires more practice opportunities than peers
-Provide additional practice through computer activities, games, peer or adult tutors, and homework
-Use peer tutors to provide repetitive practice opportunities
-Provide opportunities in class for practice after classwork is completed
-Provide opportunities for the student to practice during lesson
-Provide direct practice
-Use flashcards
-Send home some additional work for homework, if that is appropriate
-Allow child to practice during a time when others are engaged in other activities, but not to the extent that they lose free time or time in a favorite activity
 
Displays poor retention of knowledge
-Teach the student to identify and learn key words or phrases (self-cues) related to information in order to increase memory of material.
 
Incorrect grammar
-The teacher should be aware of the dialect spoken at home.  The difference between standard and nonstandard grammar should be explained without placing any negative connotations on his or her parents.
-Reinforce the use of correct grammar
-Tape record the student’s speech and have him or her identify the errors and make corrections
-During the day write down errors and have him or her make corrections
-Give students sentences both orally and written and have students identify whether the sentences are correct or incorrect
-Classwide peer tutoring – the teacher can focus on any skill that needs remediation The class of students are divided into two teams, A and B.  Each team then pairs off to work on the specific skill assigned.  One partner is the tutor and the other is the tutee.  The tutor asks the tutee pre-specified questions created by the teacher.  If the tutee gets the answer the tutor awards the tutee two points.  If the tutee gets the answer wrong the tutor provides the answer and requires the tutee to write the answer three times.  If the tutee cooperates and corrects his answer he gets one point.  If he does not, 0 points are awarded.  The more items the pair does the more points for the individual and the team.  After a prescribed time the pair switch roles.
 
Displays little motivation to learn
-Find an area of interest which can be used to stimulate learning in other areas, such as makes of cars, animals and their care, fish, etc.  Find ways to incorporate these interests into the necessary lessons
 
Cognitive ability scores indicate ability to achieve at higher levels
-Modifications would depend on what was determined to be the reason for the lower achievement.  If it was lack of interest in the subject, some way to stimulate interest might work.  If the subject is being taught primarily in one modality that the student does not favor, a change in or addition of different teaching modalities might work.

What is the definition of differentiated learning for special education children?

The ability of a teacher to meet all of the unique individual academic needs of the children in the classroom.

No two children are alike or learn in the same way. An enriched environment for one student is not necessarily enriched for another. In the classroom we should teach children to think for themselves.

Ways a Teacher can differentiate instruction:

Whole group instruction: introducing new concepts and starting a lesson

Peer teaching: learn the material by teaching someone else

Cooperative learning: working in groups or 1 on 1 to finish a project

Options to finish work: provide 3 or 4 different options for students in any given class

Differentiate Content- Differentiating content requires that students are pre-tested so we can identify the students who do not require direct instruction. Students who demonstrate they understand the concept can skip instruction and apply the concepts to the task of solving a problem. Another way is to permit the apt student to accelerate their rate of progress. They can work ahead independently or cover the content faster than their peers.

Differentiate Process/Activities- Differentiating the processes means varying activities or strategies to provide appropriate methods for students to explore the concepts. For example students may use graphic organizers, maps, diagrams or charts to display their comprehension of concepts covered. You can vary the complexity of the graphic organizer to facilitate learning for students with different levels of cognitive processing or ability levels.

Differentiate the Product- Varying the complexity of the product that students create to demonstrate mastery of the concepts. Students below grade level may have reduced performance expectations, while students above grade level are asked to produce work that requires more advanced thinking. Sometimes it is motivating for students to be offered choices of what their final product can be.

Differentiate by Manipulating The Environment or Through Accommodating Individual Learning Styles: Dunn & Dunn focused on manipulating the school environment. http://www.learningstyles.net/ Howard Gardner identified individual talents or aptitudes in his multiple intelligences theory. http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm

Curriculum isn’t defined in terms of what a teacher will teach but rather in terms of what a student will be able to demonstrate. It is essential that we understand what they knew at the beginning and how to move him/her forward from that point. This means we need to understand how each student learns best and we need to build on what they already know.

This web site addresses the differences in teachers, teaching styles, classroom environment, and curriculum for special education student whether they are in inclusion classrooms or self contained clssrooms. Through their research, they have compiled data and information from various sources to develop this web site. Included here are specific aspects of this topic so that a further understanding of differentiating curriculum for special ed students can be further developed.

http://sitemaker.umich.edu/cooper.356/home_

What is inclusion and what are the potential benefits and disadvantages to full inclusion for students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers?

The advantages include: Students are exposed to their regular ed peers, they are exposed to regular curriculum, they feel more normal, possibly have positive peer pressure to behave better, and finally possibly have better academic role models in an Inclusion model. Both the “normal” children and the disabled children can learn from each other, thus teaching acceptance of one other. The disabled child has a chance to develop socially.

The disadvantages include: Students may become lost in a large group setting, regular ed teachers may not understand the students disability and become impatient and not be willing to work with them, and a student may feel stupid for struggling when other kids are getting it. The disabled child can be disruptive. There is sometimes problems with bullying the disabled child. The regular ed teacher may be talking over the disabled child’s head leaving them bored and the class bored if they have to keep slowing down to go back over information.

I believe some children just need a different environment in which to thrive. They need additional attention and a smaller class setting for the best possible environment to learn.

In what ways does project based learning, cooperative learning, and technology better prepare students than high stakes testing?

Employers in the 21st century want candidates that have learning and thinking skills, information- and communications-technology literacy skills, and life skills. Students are entering an increasingly globalized world in which technology plays a vital role. They must be good communicators, great collaborators, responsibility, self-management, as well as interpersonal and project-management skills that demand teamwork and leadership. Through PBL, CL, and technology students are able to attain these skills where high stakes testing doesn’t have the same outcome.

Project Based Learning creates teams of students to work on an in-depth project for three to eight weeks. Introducing a complex entry question that establishes a student’s need to know, and scaffolding the project with activities and new information that deepens the work. The project consists of plans, drafts, time benchmarks, and finally the team’s presentation. Finally real time assessments and/or feedback on the projects including content, oral and written communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and other important skills are better than high stakes results that come once a year and don’t cover  most of these crucial life skills.

Project- and problem-based learning doesn’t work unless learners obtain feedback. Current assessments don’t do the job. High Stakes testing are aimed at schools, not individual student learning. Periodic assessments in managed curriculums mainly provide information to teachers. Students can’t improve or become more metacognitive without constant, real-time assessment and feedback. PBL instruction is assessment for learning, as opposed to high stakes assessment that is for schools, districts, or classroom accountability.

http://pbl-online.org/

Describe an experience where you were either a teacher or a student in a project based learning environment. Were you able to meet your learning objectives? What was your students’ or your personal response? Explain.

In our foundations of education class for NTEC we are currently doing a group lesson plan that we will present to the class. The instructor gave us a grade level and concept to teach and then we were told to collaborate as a group to come up with an effective, standard based lesson plan. This is project based learning. We are meeting the learning objectives because we are discovering how to create a lesson plans that qill guide our future classroom instructions. We are also working as a group to create a lesson plan that we can all present in a short time frame during the class. We are putting all of our ideas together and will have a finished project that we can present. All of the skills that are enticing to future employers are being used in this project: good communication, collaboration, responsibility, self-management, interpersonal and project-management skills that demand teamwork and leadership.

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Ages 12 – 15

The Montessori program for the young adult from age twelve to fifteen is very different from that of traditional school. Dr. Montessori felt that because of the rapid growth, the increased need for sleep, and hormonal changes, it is hard to try to force the adolescent to concentrate on intellectual work. Intellectual work should still be done, following the child’s interests, but without pressure.

A Classroom Example

A very bright thirteen-year-old boy was having trouble concentrating on math and other purely intellectual subjects, so I watched carefully to discover his real interests, which were: house, job, music, and parenting.

In our class the children designed and developed long-term research projects and presentations. This boy was behind in academic areas so I helped him weave his interests into projects that would utilize skills that he needed to practice. He spent hours planning his dream house, complete with indoor swimming pool and skateboard area. In doing this he researched houses of various cultures and used plenty of math, graphing, and geometry in constructing the house plans. He did a feasibility study for beginning a skateboard construction-and-repair business—rents, prices of equipment, market value of skateboards and labor costs. He began to study piano, recorder and guitar in class using classical and folk instruction books, with help when he needed it. This study of music was probably the greatest practice in self-discipline in scheduling daily practice, and the personal and social rewards were immediate. It seemed to help him express the changing emotions that otherwise would have no constructive outlet.

It was the interest in parenting which was most intriguing. Here was this tall gangly, adolescent boy, leading the group on the softball field, but if he heard a cry or yell of one of the children in the 3-6 class at the other end of the campus, he immediately put down the bat and ran to see what was the matter! There was one three-year-old in particular, Paloma, who seemed to have captured his fathering heart. They had only just met at the Montessori school, but he could single out her voice from all others, from quite a distance, and would always go to her aid. More than anything else, at this time when intellectual skills were low because of physical and emotional development, being needed as a protector by the young gave him a feeling of worth.

Age 15 – 18+

For age fifteen to eighteen, when the rapid growth of adolescence is slowing, a more rigorous intellectual schedule works, combined with social work and apprenticeships in the work world.

The need that is so keenly felt for a reform of secondary schools concerns not only an educational, but also a human and social problem. Schools, as they are today, are adapted neither to the needs of adolescents nor to the times in which we live.

But above all it is the education of adolescents that is important, because adolescence is the time when the child enters on the state of adulthood and becomes a member of society. If puberty is, on the physical side, a transition from an infantile to an adult state, there is also, on the psychological side, a transition from the child to the adult who has to live in society. These two needs of the adolescent: for protection during the time of the difficult physical transition, and for an understanding of the society which he is about to enter to play his part as an adult, give rise to two problems that are of equal importance concerning education at this age.

Education should not limit itself to seeking new methods for a mostly arid transmission of knowledge: its aim must be to give the necessary aid to human development. This world, marvelous in its power, needs a ‘new man.’ It is therefore the life of man and his values that must be considered. If ‘the formation of man’ becomes the basis of education, then the coordination of all schools from infancy to maturity, from nursery to university, arises as a first necessity.

—Dr. Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence

 

Money & Apprenticeships

In Montessori elementary classes children learn how to balance and schedule their time, to set work goals and to accomplish them, and the skills in budgeting and handling money.

Children, ages 12-15, children will have had as much experience as possible in handling money. By high school they really are becoming adults and can participate in planning the budget of the home.

One of the most important lessons is the experience of learning how much time and work is involved in earning money. There are few jobs for teenagers, and those which pay a salary are usually not educational. A better place to learn might be an unpaid apprenticeship.

It is time-consuming to take an untrained person in and share the work, and often, because of the lack of training and the short hours, having an apprentice is more of an expense than a help to a business. Young people should be aware of this and look for what they can offer or learn, instead of what they can get in the way of salary. Apprenticeships are not paid positions, but they can be extremely beneficial to the students, and sometimes open up important job possibilities in the future.

It is important that young people get in the habit of using what money they do earn for necessities such as food and transportation, or they will lack the skills to move out into the world and be independent—needing forever to live at home!

By the ‘80’s, three out of four high-school seniors were working an average of 18 hours a week and often taking home more than $200 a month. But their jobs, often in fast-food chains, were rarely challenging and earnings were immediately spent on cars, clothing, stereos and other artifacts of the adolescent good life. Indeed, researchers at the University of Michigan find that less than 11 percent of high-school seniors save all or most of their earnings for college or other long-range purposes.

In short, teenage employment has only intensified the adolescent drive for immediate gratification. Instead of learning how to delay desires, students are indulging what University of Michigan researcher Jerome Bachman calls “premature affluence.” The problem, says Bachman, is that these adolescents tend to get accustomed to an unrealistic level of discretionary income which is impossible to maintain at college, unless they have extravagant parents. “And if they don’t go to school,” he observes, “they will have to continue to live at home if they hope to keep up their personal spending habits.”

Many educators recommend a year off between high school and university to give young people a chance to experience real life and its effort and responsibilities, and to learn who they are and where their interests lie.

Both of our daughters had that experience, and both, at different times, had apartments within a few blocks of our home which they paid for by working. I remember the end of the first week of our first daughter’s experience: “I can’t believe how much time it takes to go to work, do the laundry, buy food and clean. It takes all my time when I am not at work. I don’t know how you do it!” Ahhh, she was starting to learn . . .